April 9 2013

More Obesity Studies Courtesy of Your Tax Dollars

Julie Gunlock

The President is staying busy this week, bragging about all the spending cuts he's planning to unveil in his budget proposal released tomorrow. Yet, taxpayers are mistaken if they think there will be any real changes in Washington. It's sad to say but Americans should still expect to see their tax dollars wasted on unnecessary projects.

For instance, this week, the US Department of Agriculture announced millions of dollars in grants to various universities across the country to develop "childhood obesity intervention programs." The agency's press release says the "funding is focused on supporting research programs aimed at generating new knowledge of behavioral, social and environmental factors that influence childhood obesity and using this information to develop and implement effective family, peer, community and school-based interventions."

That's super. But wouldn't it also be super if the USDA actually looked at the research that's already been done on childhood obesity? How about they assign an intern to look up a study done three years ago that says parents are really the key to keeping kids fit and healthy. Or, they could take a look at a 2011 University of Chicago study that showed children who fail to get enough sleep both during the week and on the weekends have a four-fold risk of obesity compared with their more well-rested peers. Maybe some eager staffer at the USDA could take a moment to look up a recent study from researchers at Rutgers State University that found children who regularly eat dinner with their families reaped "numerous benefits, including increased intake of fruits, vegetables, fibre, calcium-rich foods, and vitamins." How about they check out this study that shows a connection between a child's television consumption and obesity and how this research points to the importance of parents using the OFF button on their remote controls.

USDA officials certainly feel very good about themselves for funding such a worthy cause.  But taxpayers should know: the answer has already been found. Parents need to step up; do more; act like parents.

It doesn't take millions in research dollars to know what needs to be done. 

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